Tag Archives: speakers training

Interview & Book Give-Away with Sarah Meece and Who Won the Free Writing Workshop?

Sarah Meece headshotI’m excited to introduce my friend, Sarah Meece, to all my Christian Writer’s Den friends! I met Sarah several years ago at a writers conference and was amazed at her story. But when Sarah attended the Christian Communicators Conference, I was privileged to see what an incredible and talented lady she is. Then, when I read her manuscript for A Dose of Hope, I knew I wanted to bring her to you!

Readers, be sure to leave a comment for Sarah and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Don’t forget to come back next week and see if you’re the winner!

Welcome, Sarah. I’m so glad you’re here! Let’s start with an easy question. Was being an author a life-long dream?  

Absolutely not! For 29 years, I had been an educator at the secondary level. I loved high school students, and I was one of those teachers who was the first to pull in the parking lot each morning and the last to leave. I know according to The New York Times, 80% of the population has a desire to write a book, but honestly, I was too busy with school. I laughed and told a reporter once, “I didn’t have time to write the first paragraph much less a whole book!”

So what changed your heart and mind?

Having gone through several devastating events in my life, I felt a strong calling to speak to women. With my hectic teacher schedule, I would speak periodically, but I simply did not have time to speak on a Sarah Meece A Dose of Hope book coverregular basis. However, in 2008 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After several weeks of chemotherapy and a bilateral mastectomy, my life changed. For the first time, I slowed down long enough to devote some valuable time to Bible study and prayer. It was during this period that I realized my life could be short, and I needed to be obedient to God. At the end of that school year, I retired from education and created Sarah Meece Inspiresa ministry encouraging others to deepen their relationship with God.

I think I know the answer to this question, but which came first—speaking or writing?

Speaking definitely was the catalyst which led to writing. As I began booking speaking engagements, I would often get the question, “Do you have a book?” I quickly realized that in order to be perceived as a credible speaker, I needed the word author after my name. Having always enjoyed devotional books, I decided to write, A Dose of Hope, a devotional book containing real-life, everyday situations which people could easily relate.

Since writing was not a long-life goal, was it difficult for you?

I have to tell you, God was so gracious to me during the writing process. Almost every morning when I opened my eyes, God had planted a topic in my heart. I would run to the office, type as fast as I could to capture the message which He was encouraging me to share. Of course, my first draft definitely needed Sarah Meece headshot 2work, so I spent hours and hours on the final document. Plus, I was extremely blessed with a wonderful team of people who served as my editor and proofreaders. Interestingly enough, the members on my team were all retired educators (even from different states). By the way, those former English and business teachers can be hard core! (*wink) I am forever grateful to this awesome team!

Tell us about your publishing process.

My goal wasn’t necessarily to be included on the best seller list; therefore, I decided to self publish through CreateSpace. I wanted to create a document to help people build a deeper relationship with God. When I speak, I always have the book available on my product table. In addition, A Dose of Hope is available on Amazon.com. Thus far, I have been extremely pleased with the success of the book.

I know you had a great book launch for A Dose of Hope. Please tell us how you did that.

The book launch was fabulous! And I truly believe the secret to a great book launch is forming a book launch committee. I asked six friends—all from different walks of life and from different social circles—to assist with the book launch. We meet once a week for about six weeks prior to the launch where we decided everything from decorations and food to publicity and giveaways. Committee members Sarah Meece Book Launch--Celebration Teamdistributed invitations via social media, and the invitation was included in the local newspaper. The launch was held on December 3rd, at a local country club, and approximately 300 people attended the launch.  [Note to self:  Next time, sign some books in advance!] I simply cannot say enough; it was the perfect evening! Early December ended up being a great time for a book launch because many people purchased multiple copies of A Dose of Hope to give as Christmas presents to friends and family.

Do you have any new adventures in the near future?

Yes, I have all kinds of new and exciting things happening in the ministry! On the speaking front, I am joining two other speakers and forming The Hope Tour. We just did our soft launch this past weekend in Middletown, Ohio. Our mission is to spread hope to women across the country. Plus, I already have several events scheduled for 2015, including speaking at two major breast cancer events. And, on the writing front, I am in the process of writing my second book, A Dose of Peace.  I would sincerely appreciate your prayers in all of these endeavors.

Sarah, thank you for being with us and sharing your heart today. I hope readers will learn more about you and your powerful, amazing story! Readers, I know you’re going to want to have a copy of Sarah’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to the Kindle version of A Dose of Hope and the paperback version of A Dose of Hope.

Sarah Meece headshot 3Bio: Sarah Meece is not only a former educator and successful business woman, she is also a motivator, a leader, and most importantly, a survivor with an incredible story. For over 30 years, she has been reaching out to both students and adults as a strong witness and Christian role model. Traveling extensively, she has addressed a variety of audiences with her inspirational messages.

During her career in education, she received numerous awards including being named the recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Teacher of the Year Award, Outstanding Young Women in America Award, and the Ashland Oil Golden Apple Achievement Award. Since retiring from secondary education, her heart for God has led her to devote her time and energy to speaking about persevering through life’s most difficult storms.

Today, her main love and focus is on her family — her wonderful husband, Curry, their four children, and two grandchildren. You can visit Sarah and find out more about her speaking and writing ministry at her website: SarahMeece.com.

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vonda teaching

And Who Won a Free Writing Workshop from My Store?

The winner is Jeanne Doyon! Congratulations, Jeanne! Please go to my online store, click on Downloadable Writer’s Workshops, and decide which one you want. Then contact me with your choice and I’ll send it right out to you. Hope you enjoy it!

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Thank you for joining me again today. I hope you’ll be back on Friday as we look at His Word!

Blessings,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Waiting Before Working

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Okay, I admit it. I’m hardheaded, and sometimes that’s a good thing. Like when I first began my writing journey.

I was hardheaded enough to believe that editors were wrong and that I did have something worthwhile to say, even though I’d been writing for years and had nothing to show for it. After seven years and 63 rejections, I finally received an acceptance–I was a published writer! Since most writers receive 5-10 rejections and quit, I determined that hardheadedness was a real blessing for me as a writer.

But then there are the other times.

I want you to know that most I mornings I do start the day with the Lord. After all, I know that’s the best way to set the day’s course by His course.

But sometimes I’m too hardheaded to do what I know I should. On those days, I tell myself I just don’t have time.

Oh, it’s not that I don’t want to spend time with Jesus. There is nothing like starting my day with my Bible, my coffee, and my Lord. But with book deadlines, caregiving responsibilities, and a demanding speaking and ministry schedule, my hardheadedness sometimes convinces me that I just can’t stop and wait on Him.

I had such a day last week at the Christian Communicators Conference, where I was investing in the lives of women who are called to a speaking ministry. It was Friday morning, one of the most jam-packed days, and I’d had a short night of sleep. After getting a late start, I mentally rescheduled my quiet time to the evening and concentrated on my early morning to-do list.

The day went well, but it was late that night when I finally turned to the day’s devotion. My heart was broken by what I read. It was as if Sarah Young had watched me that morning as I put my time with Christ on hold. She called “waiting before working” an act of faith and ended with the promise that when we turn to Jesus for guidance, He enables us to do less, but accomplish more. I confessed the mismanagement of my priorities and belatedly waited on the Lord.

In order to be best prepared for whatever lies ahead, I need to commit each day to waiting before working. Looking at my to-do list through human eyes it’s easy to become hardheaded, thinking that I know more than my Father.

But by putting my waiting before my working, I give Him the honor He deserves and open myself up to His power. I may do less than I thought it required, but accomplish more that He has planned for me.

And even I’m not too hardheaded to see the blessing in that.

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3 NIV

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Conferences, Announcements, & Who Won Jo Ann Fore’s Book?

newspapersYep, it’s that time again…Time to help you get published, find a conference and maybe even win Jo Ann’s book!

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Here are this month’s writing opportunities, compiled just for you!

1.  Vista, Light for the World, and Book submission guidelines from the Wesleyan Church

2.  Jeanne Doyon is looking for Guest Bloggers. Deadline May 1. Click here for guidelines: WANTED Guest Bloggers from Jeanne Doyon

3.  Weekly Christian Flash Fiction Writing Contest by Pastor and writer Charles W. Short

4.  Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is accepting submissions February 16 to March 2, 2014. $50,000 Grand Prize!

5.  Castle Gate Press, a new publisher, is looking for submissions with a Christian worldview

6.  Appleseeds Magazine for Kids (Cricket – parent company) is looking for submissions appropriate for kids 6-9

7.  Free Spirit Publishing accepts non-fiction book and resources on character building, self-esteem, service-building, civics education, and more for children and teens

8.  Dog Fancy Magazine writers guidelines. One of our Christian Writer’s Den friends just had an article published in this magazine!

9.  Dollar Stretcher Publications writers guidelines

10. Just 4 Kids Magazine writers guidelines

11. Writer’s Digest Magazine submission guidelines. This is the magazine I insulted Steven James and embarrassed myself about. (And Steven James still likes me, I think!)

12. The Writer Magazine submission guidelines. As far as I know, I haven’t insulted anyone with this magazine. :-)

Well, friends, that should keep you busy for a while. Be sure to let us know if you find success through the writing opps. I sure encourages me to keep working at finding them for you!

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Upcoming Conferences Black and White ladies at BRMCWC2010

We know conferences are THE BEST way to get your training and possibly meet editors and agents, too! So here are the conferences I know about. Feel free to Contact Me with any you’d like for me to add!

1. Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: February 21-23, New York

2.  Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 21-23, 2014, Asheville, NC

3.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 26-March 2, 2014, Leesburg, FL (I’m teaching there and would love to see you!)

4.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 8, 2014, Memphis, TN

5.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-15, 2014, Spartanburg, SC

6.  Idahope Writers: March 14-15, 2014, Meridian, ID

7.  Write2Ignite: March 28-29, 2014, Tigerville, SC

8.  FAM Fest Film Festival: March 29, 2014, York, SC

9.  Festival of Faith and Writing: April 10-12, 2014, Grand Rapids, MI

10. Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop: April 10-12, 2014, Dayton, OH

11. Orange County Christian Writers Conference: April 25-26, 2014, Santa Ana, CA

12. Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 14-17, Estes Park, CO

13. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 19-23, 2014, Ridgecrest, NC

14. Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival: June 14, 2014, York, SC

15. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 17-21, Grove City, PA

16. Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival: July 11-15, 2014, Orlando, FL (I’ll be there co-directing the Teen Intern Program again and would love to see you there!)

17. Christian Communicators Conference: August 27-31, 2014, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC (Registration now open! Hope to see you there!)

18. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 10-11, 2014, Grand Rapids, MI

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christian-communicators-promo-cove-2014Registration is Now Open for The Christian Communicators Conference for Speakers

Ladies, if you feel called to speak, you don’t want to miss the Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Carolyn Knefely and I would love to see you there!

At a Christian Communicators Conference, less truly is more…

By limiting the conference to about 30 ladies, you receive more!

  • You won’t be surrounded by hundreds of women . . . but you’ll be embraced by thirty who will become lifelong friends
  • You won’t experience long lines for dinner . . . but you’ll have long conversations over dessert
  • You won’t need change for vending machines . . . but shared stories at afternoon tea can change your life

Come and learn in a small, intimate setting . . .
then go out and change a great big world

Check out the Christian Communicators Conference registration details here. But don’t delay, with only 30 spots, we fill up quickly!Print

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I’m Looking for Teens 16yo-18yo Who are Interested in the Media Arts!

I’m honored to again be a co-director of The Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival Teen Intern Program at this year’s conference, July 11-15, 2014 in Orlando.

If you know a teen interested in acting, directing, screenwriting, singing, songwriting, or anything else related to the media arts, please send them to the Gideon Intern Page for details and application. But they must hurry–Deadline for applications is April 1.

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Jo Ann Fore book coverAnd Finally…Who Won Jo Ann Fore’s Book?

My goodness, I can tell you loved Jo Ann, her book, and her interview! That was one of the highest number of responses ever received. Thank you for your support and encouragement. And now, the winner is…drumroll please…

…Kimberly Ruedger-Wheatfill!

Congratulations, Kimberly! Just Contact Me with your snail mail address and Jo Ann will have your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s your direct Amazon link to Jo Ann’s amazing book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference.

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Okay, friends, that does it for today’s post. Yes, I know it was longer than usual, but that’s because I had so much good stuff to share with you!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities & Conferences

newspapersHere are writing opportunities collected just for you!

Yes, it’s time for our monthly list of writing opps. I hope you’ll read the following opps, study the guidelines and submit. And don’t forget to let us celebrate with you when you have good news!

1.  Melissa Williams has a call-out for women who found love and marriage after age 30. She says: I’m currently writing an inspirational book for single Christian women (aged 30+) who are hoping to be married. I’m looking for Christian women who did indeed find love and marriage after 30 and are willing to share their stories throughout the book. I’m incredibly honoured by all the women God is

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing and Speaking Conferences & MoGo7000

It’s the 4th Thursday and time to look at upcoming conferences!

If you’re serious about writing, speaking, filmmaking, or creative arts, you need to be serious about learning your craft. Conferences are a great place to learn, regardless of your experience. Be sure to check them all out and find the ones that best fit your needs.

1.  Blue Ridge Writing Retreat with Agent Sally Apokedak: October 24-27, 2013, Blue Ridge, GA.

2.  Mini Fiction Workshop: November 16, 2013, Anderson, SC (Contact Elva Martin for details: elvacmartin@gmail.com)

3.  Writing for the Soul: February 13-15, 2014, Colorado Springs, CO

4.  Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 21-23, 2014, Asheville, NC

5.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 26-March 2, 2014, Leesburg, FL (Hope to see you there!)

6.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 8, 2014, Memphis, TN

7.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-15, 2014, Spartanburg, SC (Registration opens soon!)

8.  Write2Ignite: March 28-29, 2014, Tigerville, SC

9.  FAM Fest Film Festival: March 29, 2014, York, SC

10. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 19-23, 2014, Ridgecrest, NC

11. Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival: July 11-15, 2014, Orlando, FL

12. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 27-31, 2014, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC

 

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Only 8 more days to MoGo in October!

Have you been working on your MoGo7000 this month? If so, you have 8 more days to count toward this month’s total, so keep working!

Don’t know what in the world I’m talking about? Head on over to the MoGo7000 Challenge page and check it out. You could finish a book this year AND win $100 in cold, hard cash!

So what are you waiting for?

Write on!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing, Speaking, and Media Conferences

It’s the 4th Thursday–Time to look at upcoming conferences!

 

1.  Southeastern Christian Writers ConferenceApril 26-2, 2013, Cleveland, TN

2.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 15-18, 2013, Estes Park, CO

3.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 19-23, 2013, Ridgecrest, NC–I can’t wait to see you there!

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos, MoGo7000 Results, & Christian Communicators Conference

It’s the 2nd Thursday, and time to celebrate your successes!

Congratulations to all these Christian Writer’s Den writers. You’re doing what it takes!

1.  Linda Thomas (IN): Recently published my first Bible Study, In Step with the Spirit.

2.  Colleen Luntzel (OR): Colleen has a new blog, Bring Bread. In Isaiah 29:8, the Scripture says, “…an hungry man dreams, and behold, he eats; but he awakes, and his soul is empty.” Hunger is powerful and demands to be satisfied, whether it’s physical or spiritual. It’s easy to satisfy physical hunger, but when it’s the soul that knots tight in hunger pangs, only The BREAD of Life, Jesus Christ, can satisfy.

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing & Speaking Conferences & MoGo7000

It’s the 4th Thursday, and that means it’s time to share conferences (some new!) and MoGo7000 with you…

1.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: April 19-20, 2013, Spartanburg, SC

2.  Southeastern Christian Writers Conference:   April 26-2, 2013, Cleveland, TN

3.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 15-18, 2013, Estes Park, CO

4.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 19-23, 2013, Ridgecrest, NC–I can’t wait to see you there!

5.  Write-to-Publish: June 5-8, 2013, Wheaton College, IL

6.  St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference: June 18-22, 2013, Grove City, PA

7.  Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 21-22, 2013, Elizabethtown, KY

8.  Writing for Life Workshop with James Scott Bell: June 28-30, 2013, Newark, CA

9.  Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival: July 12-16, 2013, Orlando, FL–I can’t wait to see you there!

10. Writers’ Publishing Workshop: August 5-9, 2013, Hamilton, MA

11. Catch the Wave Writers Conference: August 22-24, 2013, Atlanta area, GA

12. Christian Communicators Conference: August 28-September 1, 2013, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC--I can’t wait to see you there! We have 7 spaces left!

13. New England Christian Writer’s Retreat: October 18-20, 2013, Plainfield, NH

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The March MoGo7000 Challenge ends Sunday night at midnight!

Yes, today is the last day to count your words for the March MoGo7000 Challenge. But don’t send your numbers yet! I’ll post the call out next Thursday for your March totals.

Didn’t meet the 7000-word goal this month? Not to worry. You can start fresh toward your April goal beginning next Monday.

Remember, each month that you write 7000 NEW words on a book project, your name can go into the virtual hat for another entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100!

If you’d like more information on how you can write a book this year and possibly win $100, just check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page.

Somebody’s gonna win–it might as well be YOU!

Write on, sweet friends!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos, MoGo7000 Qualifiers, & Christian Communicators Conference–9 Spots Left!

It’s the second Thursday of the month, so it’s confetti time. Time to PAR-TAY! (Y’all know what a party animal I am, right?) :-)

Seriously, I’m thrilled to share these Christian Writer’s Den successes with you.

Here are the February Kudos!

1.  Jeanne Doyon (CT): My article, Plan A Getaway with God has been picked up online at Open the Word in Canada.

2.  Tammy Whitehurst (TX): Vonda, you shared with us in January about Reach Out Columbia, as a place to submit our articles. I submitted an article to them and they accepted it! Thank You Vonda for sharing them with us!

3.  Eddie Snipes (GA): I’ve just finished my next book, The Victorious Christian Life. It’s online but I plan to do an official book launch in early April. (Vonda here–It’s only $0.99 as I write this!)

Congratulations to this short list of kudos. Don’t see your name here? Then be sure to come back next week when I’ll be listing Writing Opportunities collected just for you!

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Who MoGoed in February?

Here’s the list of qualifiers in the February MoGo7000 Challenge. These writers wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project last month and are now in the running for $100!

4.  Nan Jones – 7380 words
5.  Eddie Snipes – 42,364 words
6.  Marilyn Turk – 16,797 words
7.  Sue Badeau – over 75,000 words

Wow–these four writers wrote over 141,500 words in February alone! Way to go! And just think, one of you could win $100 at the end of the year drawing. :-)

Anybody else out there want the chance to write a book this year and possibly win $100 to boot? Joining the MoGo7000 Challenge is easy. Just check out the MoGo7000 Challenge guidelines here and then get to work. It’s FREE!

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Only 9 Spot left at the Christian Communicators Conference! Yes–9 Spots!

If you’re considering the 2013 Christian Communicators Conference, now is the time to act! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to attend the most personal, unique speakers conference you’ll find anywhere.

Check out the Christian Communicators Registration Details here and then claim your spot!

 

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Writer’s Headlines: Call for Kudos & MoGo7000 Totals; Christian Communicators is Filling Up!

Who has good news to share?

Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait to celebrate with you in this new year!

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Did You MoGo in February?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in February, you could be in the drawing for $100 cash!

To report your February results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written in February. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment by next Monday).

And if you missed out on 2012′s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry. It’s a new year and that means a new challenge! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. It’s free and you can join in at any time!

Just remember, each month in 2013 that you write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project, you can receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100! The more months you meet the goal, the more chances you have to win!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could make a lot of headway on a book this year–and possibly win $100!

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The 2013 Christian Communicators Conference is Filling Up Fast!

Ladies, are you considering Christian Communicators this year?

There are only 15 spots left for the August 28-September 1, 2013 conference, to be held at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, NC! If you feel called to a speaking ministry and don’t know where to begin or perhaps you’re already speaking, but would like to learn how to grow your ministry…Either way, we have the conference for you!

The Christian Communicators Conference is an all-inclusive package and has everything you need to grow your ministry! Training, breakouts, social media classes, promotional opportunities, your professionally-recorded video and professional headshots, etiquette classes, a lovely afternoon tea, and ongoing mentoring are all included! Be sure to check out the Conference Details, Conference Schedule, Conference Leaders, and Testimonials, and discover how this conference could be just what you’re looking for! Partial scholarships are available.

Got questions? Feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear from you!

As my partner, Carolyn Knefely says, “Write and speak on!”

Vonda

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